IOn January 4, 2020, the feast of St. Angela of Foligno, Monsignor Guido MARINI, Master of Pontifical Liturgical Ceremonies, presided over Mass in the Oratory of the Madonna del Gonfalone [Our Lady of the Banner] which flanks the Church of St. Francis of Assisi in Foligno, Italy. The Oratory was filled to overflowing, leaving many people outside.

The celebration began with a greeting from the Most Reverend Gualtiero SIGISMONDI, Bishop of Foligno. On behalf of himself and Friar Franco BUONAMANO, the Minister Provincial of the Italian Province of St. Francis of Assisi (Central Italy) the Bishop welcomed Friar Carlos Alberto TROVARELLI, the Minister General, as well as Monsignor MARINI. The Bishop highlighted the bond with the Holy Father that was manifested through the presence of Monsignor MARINI, one of the Pope’s closest collaborators.
In his homily, Monsignor MARINI pointed out the “precious presence of the saints in our lives, because they lead us to the Lord with their intercessory prayer, because of their faithful presence as our traveling companions, because of their example and because their lives call us back to the path of holiness towards the Lord.” Monsignor MARINI went on to say that “Angela shows us the longing for the beauty of holiness that we cannot achieve in our weakness and the helpful regret we feel about not being saints, which pushes us to keep walking.” Monsignor MARINI focused on six aspects of St. Angela’s life. The first was her ability to read the presence of God in the events of her life. The second was discovering that one’s relationship with Jesus is a love story. The third was the fullness of life that Angela found in the presence of the Lord. The fourth was the centrality of the Crucifix and the Eucharist in one’s life. The last two aspects dealt with one’s relationship with the Blessed Virgin Mary. Mary is “a decisive presence, bringing Jesus into our lives and leading us to him.” Moreover, the “ability to see the Lord in a small child, is essential to be able to find him in small things, in everyday life, in our lives.” Monsignor MARINI concluded his reflection by comparing Angela to a star that has led generations towards the Child of Bethlehem, and he wished everyone could be stars, leading people to Jesus with their own lives.
At the end of the celebration, it was announced that restoration work will soon begin on the Church of St. Francis. The work is expected to be completed within a few months.

Fabio Massimo MATTONI